I've always been impressed by Caymus Vineyards, owned by the Wagner family, which produces two of the best Cabernet Sauvignons on the continent.
One is labeled "Napa Valley" and the other is the premium "Special Selection," both of which wine experts have rated 90 points or better for 15 consecutive years. The fruit is sourced from the family's Rutherford vineyards, where the "dusty," sedimentary rock soil and unique mountaintop, hillside and flatland terroir contribute unique characteristics to Chuck Wagner's truly adept wine-making process.
Caymus' Napa Valley label sells for $55 to $60 a bottle, while the Special Selection commands between $105 to $120 a bottle. Why the difference in price? According to Wagner, the Napa Valley can be cellared for a few years yet it is generally ready to be consumed upon release. In other words, it's good to go. The Special Selection, on the other hand, is built for aging; it's richly textured, tannic and acidic, and possesses intense fruit flavors. Of course, you can drink it now, but the wine will definitely improve with four to six years of comfortable rest.
Now here's the rub. I've tasted individual glasses of Caymus Cabernet and yet never purchased a bottle simply because of the expense.
All that is about to change, however. The Wagners have been making quality wines for 40 years, and recently they came out with a special anniversary edition Caymus Vineyards Napa Valley "40" Cabernet, vintage 2012. This is a truly wonderful expression of the lifelong work achieved by Charlie and Lorna Wagner and their son Chuck.
This is the one to buy. It comes in a distinctive bottle with a bold yellow label, a family photo across the middle, and a big red "40." Like all Caymus Cabernets, it's a tour de force of deep ruby color, intense black currant flavors and elegance. Drink it now or wait a little, but this Cab is meant to complement a sizzling, grilled steak.
The Caymus 40 has been selling in the $55 to $60 range, but there's a deal to be had this weekend if you visit Sam and Tina Messina at the Wine ConneXtion in North Andover. I can't publish the price on Sam's orders because he said this is a one-time Father's Day special reserved for the public. The quantity is limited.
Like I said previously, if you've never tried a really exquisite bottle of wine in your life, this might be the time to take the plunge.
While Caymus 40 heads the list of Sam's Father's Day picks, here are some other stars to consider at Saturday's complimentary wine tasting, which runs from 1 to 5 p.m.: 2011 Bertani Secco-Bertani Valpolicella; 2010 Turnbull Cabernet Sauvignon; 2010 Groth Cabernet Sauvignon; and the exclusive 2010 Dunn Vineyards Howell Mountain Cabernet Sauvignon (rated 95.3 points by CellarTracker, 98 points by Wine Spectator).
I know where I am going to be on Saturday.